First major Uni gathering since COVID to chart road ahead

The first major gathering of the university sector and its leadership since COVID-19 closed Australia’s international borders and upended the lives of students and staff begins today.

At the Universities Australia Higher Education Conference, an authoritative line up of experts from Australia and overseas will assess the impact of seismic global change on universities and economies and what’s needed to achieve a healthy recovery.

A range of topical concurrent sessions will explore the future of international education, the student experience, industry engagement and resilient leadership.

UA Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said universities had adapted nearly every aspect of their operations.

“Through border closures and bushfires, curriculums moved online overnight, revenue hits and job losses, universities have worked on. Change in higher education, as for the rest of the nation, has been deep and wide over the past 18 months,” Ms Jackson said.

“This tumultuous period has illustrated more than ever why having resilient universities is critical to national recovery and prosperity. University expertise has helped us all navigate constant change and find solutions.”

“University education has continued to equip students, young and old, to play their fullest part in our future. Innovative researchers have new ideas to work to deliver the next chapter in Australia’s economic and social development.”

“The conference comes at a crucial time for university leaders and communities to chart the road ahead, to confront challenges and embrace opportunities.”

The higher education conference by the sector, for the sector, it is the signature event on the university calendar. The one-day line-up of local and global speakers includes:

  • the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO, Australia’s Ambassador to the United States;
  • Professor Ngaire Woods, founding Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Professor of Global Economic Governance at Oxford University;
  • Danielle Wood, Chief Executive Officer at Grattan Institute;
  • Jeff Connolly, Chairman and CEO, Siemens Australia and New Zealand;
  • Professor Richard Holden, Professor of Economics and Co-Director, UNSW New Economic Policy Initiative, School of Economics, UNSW Business School;
  • Professor Tanya Monro, Chief Defence Scientist, Department of Defence;
  • Professor Warwick McKibbin, Professor and Director, ANU Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University;
  • Major General Andrew Hocking, Deputy Coordinator for the Engagement and Operations Division, National Bushfire Recovery Agency;
  • Christine Morgan, CEO, National Mental Health Commission;
  • Patty Kinnersly, Our Watch;
  • Zoe Ranganathan, President, National Union of Students; and
  • Belle Lim, National President, Council of International Students Australia.

The conference is being held both face-to-face and online and at the National Convention Centre in Canberra on 2-3 June.

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